Bob Foster is The New Animation Guild President

Bob Foster

Over the weekend, The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE, which represents animation artists throughout Los Angeles, announced its election results. The new president is Bob Foster who has had an impressive forty-year career in the industry. I’d occasionally run into Bob when I lived in LA, and he always impressed me with his knowledge of animation and cartoon history. He’s as much a fan of the art form as he is someone who works in it, and that’s a commendable trait.

Foster ran uncontested, and replaces computer animator Kevin Koch, who is stepping down as president after nine years. I don’t want to read into this too much, but it should be pointed out that most of the recent jobs listed on Koch’s online resume are non-union studios (Blue Sky Studios, Super 78 Studios, Snoot Entertainment, Medical CyberWorlds). While the union doesn’t prohibit its members from working at outside shops, it can’t be an inspiring message to rank-and-file members when its last president consistently worked outside during the past few years.

Looking at it from a different perspective, however, Kevin’s career path simply reflects that of a modern animator. The union largely represents studios that create TV and feature animation, and as I wrote in the second half of this article, the fragmentation of the industry means that younger generations of artists can’t be expected to commit themselves to specific formats as in the past. How the union will adapt to reflect these changing realities of its membership remains to be seen.


  • http://www.synchrolux.com Kevin

    Hey Amid,

    Let me point out a few things you don’t seem to be aware of. First, the union presidency is a non-paid position. All the executive board positions, except Business Agent, are non-paid. No salary, no benefits whatsoever. The union also has no sway in who gets hired by the studios. What that means is that each of us on the executive board are in the same boat as every other member in the Guild — we have to get hired and stay working based on our skills and our connections. There is no hiring roster, and the union president, like every union member, is at the mercy of the studios for their jobs.

    Second, I’m an animator. Not a ‘computer animator,’ as you put it, but a character animator. This craft is primarily practiced at feature animation studios. Have you noticed that there are exactly two feature studios that are union? DreamWorks (in Glendale, but not in Redwood City) and Disney. For me to work only union character animation jobs, those are essentially my two choices.

    Several years ago, after almost 10 years at DreamWorks, I chose to move on. Since then, I’ve worked at a variety of studios, some of which you list. The Medical Cyberworlds project was actually a union project, though I bowed out when the project didn’t seem to be moving forward. You also didn’t list my work at Warner Bros. on the PEPFAR shorts, which was a union project. The other jobs were indeed non-union. This is how it is in the animation industry. There are more union jobs than at any time in history, and yet the industry is so huge that the majority of animation work is non-union. And almost all of those jobs are now project-to-project. My recent work history is pretty much the same as most other character animators. Some union work, some not.

    I have 14 years of professional animation, and 11 of those have been at union studios. The larger point is that my recent work history is not a reflection on what the Animation Guild offers and has accomplished. While misrepresenting my work history, you also neglect to cite that TAG union membership is nearly 3,000, the highest it has ever been, and that TAG is engaging it’s members in ways it never has before.

    Twenty years ago, it was a different story. The industry was tiny, and most of it was union. Now the industry is huge, and much of it is non-union. If the only people who are suitable to be involved in running the union have unblemished union work records, then going forward TAG will have a hard time fielding an executive board unless it’s made up mostly of retirees.

    Over the last nine years I’ve devoted a tremendous amount of energy to making the union more modern and more responsive to our members (as have some other stalwart executive board members). The union is much bigger and better and more active than it was 9 years ago. But the union also faces tremendous pressures. The studios, which are all part of huge conglomerates, are more powerful than ever. Anti-union sentiments in the media are stronger than they’ve been in years. Dismissive and uninformed posts like this don’t help.

    Let me ask, when was the last time you wrote something about the positives that TAG brings to the industry and it’s members? I suppose it’s not surprising that it never happens — most of what TAG does happens in the background, and is often only known to the involved studios and members. Union stories aren’t very sexy, either. And unless you have a working knowledge of how entertainment unions work, a lot of what the union actually accomplishes is obscure. But there’s also quite a few good things going on at the union that are public, and that never get the slightest mention here.

    And that’s fine, that’s not why you started Cartoon Brew. Just realize that sitting on the sidelines of the industry makes it easy to pass judgment. I know you have some idealized notions about what the industry (and probably the union) could and should be, and I share many of those notions with you, but it’s a shame that posts like this make Cartoon Brew become ever more like Animation Nation.

    Kevin Koch

    • amid

      Kevin,
      You’re barking up the wrong tree. I support the idea of the union wholeheartedly and believe that it’s a positive influence on our industry. And while I don’t pretend to know its inner workings, I’ve heard only positive things about your efforts throughout the years. Not only does the union do good for its members, which you’ve already pointed out, it also keeps non-union studios in line and forces them to behave more ethically.

      I also don’t know what any of this has to do with whether the union positions are paid or not. The only thing I was pointing out was that it is weird, no, actually SUPER weird, that the union president has worked ALMOST exclusively non-union for the past few years. Simple question: Has that ever happened before in Local 839’s history, or for that matter, any union? (Wouldn’t it strike someone odd if the president of a teacher’s union chose to teach at a private school outside of his union. Maybe you’ve been able to justify it to yourself and your members, but it makes absolutely no sense to an outside observer.)

      Secondly, you say that there are only a few options for character animators within the union. Why is that? There are tons of character animation jobs available in LA and beyond. The only thing is that the union doesn’t represent the new breed of animation studios, and that’s a hard fact that can’t be swept under the rug. During the boom period of the Nineties, the Union could have gone on a huge publicity spree and unionized more digital efx and gaming animation studios that were coming into existence at the time. With all the momentum on its side during those glory years, it’s hard to believe they were so complacent and short-sighted in that regard. The result is that now the union president has to tell people that there are only a handful of character animation jobs within the animation union.

      These are difficult questions and I understand why it struck a nerve. None of this has anything to do with you, and the damage was done before you even arrived, so I’m sorry you took it as a personal attack. But as the most visible member of the union, your situation of not working within your union (whether by choice or necessity) speaks volumes about the Union’s failure during the ’90s and ’00s to muscle its way into the newer studios.

      Even though the Union likes to advertise that it’s bigger than it was nine years ago, its moderate pace of member growth certainly hasn’t kept up with the explosion of new jobs throughout the animation industry as a whole. As the animation industry fragments and enlarges even more, I’d be curious to learn what the Union’s strategy is for the next decade?

      • The Gee

        First, congrats to Bob Foster and I hope he and other elected do some good for the union.

        Second, I’m not sure why you felt the need to mention Kevin not working in union shops, Amid. My first thought was: why even bother to look for his resume in writing an introduction to who Foster is?

        For what it is worth, I barely know Kevin but, despite the fact that I’m not a union member, I have been lucky enough to have gotten good advice from him before. It might not exactly have been luck but it is more likely a consequence of Kevin just being a decent guy.

        If you crafted your post to just stir the pot then that just means you wrote a post that was more about you than it was a post that was any attempt at journalism. And let’s face it, there are not a lot of postings about the union on the CB blog anyway. At best it is just a cross-link to a post which may have appeared on the TAG blog. So, it would have been best if you had just let folks know it was announced that Foster won, shared information about him and then let it go. But, you didn’t….

      • steve hulett

        Amid:

        If you’re curious, drop by the guild office when you’re in Burbank and I’ll tell you the strategies over lunch.

        Having repped and organized animation for a couple of decades now, I’d be happy to share with you what the reality is down here in the arena.

        Trust me, it ain’t quite what you imagine it to be.

        Best,

        Steve Hulett

      • amid

        Steve, I’ll arrange a lunch with you next time I’m in LA. As I’ve said, I support the union and would love to learn more.

      • Carla Larissa Fallberg

        Hi Amid! Thank you for your courage in pointing out That Kevin was working for non-union studios during his tenure as TAG president. I had no idea there were so many! Did he manage to organize any of them? While serving on the TAG Executive Board I did mention this matter to an IATSE official who responded, “Hollywood never ceases to surprise me. Who is paying his benefits?”
        If you want to find out more about why unions are so unpopular, go over to 104 Montgomery Street in Brooklyn. The staff at The Association for Union Democracy will tell you. So will any Office for Labor Management Standards. So will I.

  • http://www.synchrolux.com Kevin

    Amid, I’m glad you support the union, even though your support hasn’t extended to actually writing anything about what the union has done or accomplished, at least from my recollection based on regularly reading Cartoon Brew. So when you do actually DO write a piece about the union, and you use a selective reading of my resume to indicate that there’s something rotten going on, I find it a tad ironic.

    Have there been TAG officers who have worked non-union in the past? Yes. Have previous TAG presidents? I’m not sure — why don’t you ask them. I had the choice when I left DreamWorks of either resigning my union presidency or continuing on despite not working at a union studio. I spoke with several people I trusted, including both general members and executive board members, and was convinced to continue serving.

    Comparing TAG to the way other unions is silly. Most unions are run by people who are professional union officials, who do not work in the industry they represent, and who are paid to do what they do. TAG couldn’t be more different than the teachers union. Given the realities of our industry, TAG members long ago chose to adopt a model of not punishing those who work non-union, the way some unions do. This has actually help TAG grow and organize new studios, as people move from union studios to non-union studios and want their union benefits to continue. By the way, are you aware that at the same time TAG as grown to its largest size ever, unionization around the country has fallen to the lowest levels in decades? Maybe these other unions could learn something from TAG.

    Your naivete about how unionizing works is apparent by the statement, “During the boom period of the Nineties, the Union could have gone on a huge publicity spree and unionized more digital efx and gaming animation studios that were coming into existence at the time.” So your premise is that if Tom Sito and the previous executive board members had just put more effort into publicity, then all those games and VFX studios would now be union? Damn, I wish someone had consulted you then, when it all would have been sooo easy. A publicity spree? You’re a genius!

    I’m sorry for the sarcasm, but anyone with the barest understanding of the animation industry and union organizing will find that quote laughable. And really, is it only now that you’re curious about the union’s strategy for the next 10 years? You don’t have much idea as to what actually HAS gone on over the last 15 years, what efforts TAG has made, or what the interactions have been with games and VFX professionals. You don’t have much information, but you do have the kind of righteous certainty that is born out ignorance. That’s an ugly combination.

    By coincidence, I had lunch today with Bob Foster. Maybe he’ll personally thank you for digging up the most ridiculous possible photo of him you could find. Regardless, we had a good talk about the future of TAG, and I’m happy to pass the torch to a good man. If you’re sincere in wanting to learn more about TAG and what the future might bring, I urge you to sit down with Bob and Steve Hulett and a few other board members, and have an enlightening discussion. You just might learn something.

    Funny thing, on the way out from lunch we ran into a long-time story artist. In regaling us with some mischief he’d experienced at one of the studios, he commented, “This is an industry where management often operates by heresay and innuendo.” Apparently that doesn’t just apply to studio management.

    • amid

      “Publicity spree” was a hasty choice of words, which you chose to make fun of, but you didn’t address the underlying question, which was quite legitimate: during the height of the 90s animation boom when the Union had leverage, why didn’t it make a bigger effort to convince artists at digital efx and games studios to join…and if they did make a huge effort, why were the results negligible?

      The only real issue I brought up in this post was that I found it weird that a union president would have to work so many non-union jobs and I questioned the effect it has on rank-and-file. Clearly, the situation is weird to you too because in your last comment you wrote that you “spoke with several people I trusted, including both general members and executive board members, and was convinced to continue serving.” So, why is it wrong for an outsider to raise that question when it was clearly a problematic issue for yourself as well.

      PS: As for the “ridiculous” photo of Bob, wasn’t Sito’s personal union photo of himself sitting naked in a pool with a bucket over his head? Bob’s photo is rather mild compared to that one (not to mention better lit too).

      • pappy d

        That did come off as critical of Kevin. What about the signatory studios who tend to see “computer animators” as part of the international labor market. It’s not as though anybody’s working non-union because he’s a masochist.

        I’m sure Bob understands by now that we sometimes have to live down to the public perception of animation professionals, but how about some expect some respect from my fanboys.

  • http://www.synchrolux.com Kevin

    So you run an idiotic photo of Bob Foster because at some point over ten years ago Tom Sito had a silly photo that he posted somewhere? Okay, gotcha. Journalism at its finest.

    To answer your question, Local 839 has had many formal and informal contacts with people in VFX and games over the years. Years ago Tom Sito arranged a well-attended debate with Digital Domain’s Scott Ross on the topic of unions in visual effects. I was on a panel at SIGGRAPH with unionization one of the topics, and I debated reps from Sony and EA. I personally know of many, many other less formal interactions over the years, some of which I was involved in, and some that were before my time.

    The fact is that, when feature animation was booming in the ’90′s, games and VFX were in their relative infancy, and most studios in those fields were small start-ups with the founders working side-by-side with their their usually very young staffs. It was like the earliest days of animation, when every small studio feels like a family, and you’re just hoping to survive and you’re thrilled that you even get to practice your craft.

    The concept of needing or wanting a union was foreign to games and VFX professionals then. There was no tradition or history of unionization, most of them had never worked at a union animation studio, and what little they knew of unions they’d gotten from the press, which usually only writes about a union when there is some kind of corruption, or when the union is being blamed for some industry failure.

    There was simply no chance for unionization to take root in those industries at that time. In fact, there was a fair amount of free-floating hostility to the idea. I remember having discussions 8-9 years ago, both on-line and in person, with VFX artists who were angry and insulted by the idea of a union representing them. They had no idea what it entailed, and imagined that some union thug would tell them and their bosses who could be hired, and what work could be done, and they couldn’t imagine that the benefits might actually be better than what they had at the time. These were among the most fruitless conversations I’ve ever had in my life.

    I remember one guy telling me a union was the LAST thing they needed. He then went on to outline that what the VFX industry DID need was an organization that would provide portable health benefits, meaningful pension benefits, some kind of salary minimums, help with continuing education, and offer legal recourse if employers abused them with things like unpaid overtime. When I pointed out that he had ironically described exactly what local 839 did, he angrily ended the discussion. The few people I met who were pro-union were very careful to keep that information from their coworkers. It wasn’t even that they were afraid their boss would find out and fire them; they were aware that to the rugged individualists were founded the games and VFX industries, unions were a dirty word.

    To put it simply, it was like sowing seeds on a parking lot, and hoping a crop would grow. At that time, both those industries were infertile land for union organizing, and my experience was that pushing the issue actually worsened the anti-union feelings. It wasn’t rational that so many intelligent people would be unwilling to act in their own best interests, but human nature isn’t always rational. That’s why the results were negligible.

    You also mention the issue of “union leverage,” and how that supposed leverage was squandered. What do you mean by that? How did the Animation Guild have the slightest leverage over Games and VFX?

    The only leverage a union has is the underlying commitment of members and potential members. If a union studio pulls enough shenanigans to piss its employees off, the union has leverage. If enough people at a non-union studio sign rep cards and are willing to stand up for their right to organize, then the union has leverage. But publicity campaigns aren’t leverage. The hopes and desires of a union president aren’t leverage. Leverage comes from the inside.

    The games industry has grown massively, but it took many years of abuse before games animators were willing to get together and file class action suits over the issue of insane amounts of unpaid overtime. I had conversations with games animators before those lawsuits were filed, and they all wanted something to change, but they are all scared to even sign anonymous rep cards, or unwilling to even consider that a union might help.

    It is only now that there is a genuine movement within the VFX industry to organize. Five years ago, this stuff was just whispers. Fifteen years ago, there weren’t even whispers. Maybe now something will happen, and maybe not. But whatever happens, it won’t be because of leverage that doesn’t exist, and it won’t be because if publicity sprees.

    The games and VFX industries have matured, they’ve come to be run much like the animation industry. Few studios any longer feel like ‘families.’ Change is in the air. TAG recently hired it’s first dedicated organizer, Steve Kaplan, who comes from the VFX industry. That’s something we’d talked about for years, and we realized that the time was finally ripe. Maybe it will bear fruit, maybe not.

    I’ve been in this game long enough to know that nothing is ever as easy as it looks from the peanut gallery.

    • amid

      Kevin – Just for the record, you called Bob’s photo “idiotic.” I think the photo shows a fun guy with a good sense of humor, which is why I chose it.

      Thanks for filling in all those stories. It’s nice to know some of that background. Frankly, I’m amazed at how poorly the union has been perceived by games/efx studios. Has the union ever employed PR/lobbying firms to rehabilitate its image and get word out about all the good work it does?

      I wonder how much of it is an image/perception issue and how much of it is honest hatred of unions? I’d guess it’s more of the former than the latter. I say that simply because of the countless young artists I speak to, not a single one is clear on what the union actually does and many are pointlessly anti-union. Sounds like a familiar scenario. I may not know all the details about how the union operates, but it’s fairly obvious that any organization could avoid these insanely negative perception issues with proper outreach and publicity campaigns. If those had been in place fifteen or twenty years ago and more studios had been brought aboard, perhaps people wouldn’t have to look outside of the union for character animation jobs today.

      • Andy Rose

        Amid… maybe Kevin needs to hire a PR firm to convince you that you lost the argument about publicity. Kevin has directly addressed your point with actual experience, and you’re still responding with hypotheticals.

        Kevin… there’s nothing wrong with that picture of Bob Foster. You come across as thin-skinned by repeatedly making an issue of it.

  • http://www.synchrolux.com Kevin

    “Has the union ever employed PR firms to rehabilitate its image and get word out about all the good work it does?”

    Yes, early in my presidency we hired a publicist. Publicists can only push for things to be published by news outlets. They can’t force those outlets to actually follow through, and they can’t force anyone to read what gets published. Frankly, it was a waste of money. Stories about unions are not something anyone is eager to publish. It’s not a coincidence that Cartoon Brew, Animation Magazine, and AWN have had virtually nothing to say about the union for their history. That’s not a criticism, that’s just a fact, and I understand it. It’s not a fascinating subject for most people.

    I’ve frequently been asked by reporters about my opinion about certain movies, or about certain executive comings and goings in the industry, or about things like outsourcing. Those are sexy topics. No one has ever called to ask me about organizing games or VFX, and the few times I’ve brought it up as a topic I get blank stares. And no one has ever asked me to give a comparison of union benefits to non-union studio benefits. If TAG had a PR firm, and they sent you some press releases with that information, would you honestly have published it? If we hired someone to write jingles and bought air time, would that have changed someone’s mind?

    “I wonder how much of it is an image/perception issue and how much of it is honest hatred of unions?”

    What in God’s name is an honest hatred of unions? Is that someone who had a Teamster break their father’s knees or something? Every single anti-union person I’ve ever had an in-depth discussion with has revealed that they had absolutely no idea how the Animation Guild functions. Not a one. Some people hate what they imagine unions to be, and some people simply assume that (as I’ve often heard), “If unions were so great, why wouldn’t everyone want to start one.” It becomes a circular argument: Unions can’t be great, or they’d already be pervasive, right?

    “… of the countless young artists I speak to, not a single one is clear on what the union actually does and many are pointlessly anti-union.”

    Yep, that’s common. And, sadly, few of them are really interested in learning. It’s something they imagine they’ll figure out when they actually start working, but for most of them it’s a theoretical issue that just seems impossibly confusing.

    “but it’s fairly obvious that any organization could avoid these insanely negative perception issues with proper outreach and publicity campaigns.”

    I know it’s obvious to you. The ‘right answer’ is often obvious to those who don’t have any experience at actually trying to do something. I’ve personally written hundreds and hundreds of hours worth of detailed pieces for the TAG blog and various internet sites. I’ve given interviews. I’ve gotten myself invited to groups and made gentle pitches and answered questions. I’ve talked to countless small groups and individuals, both within industry, and as students. The ONE time I get a glimmer that people are actually paying attention to the details of what the union offers is when I’m talking at New Member lunch, which Steve Hulett and I have been doing regularly for new TAG members for the last 9 years. Suddenly, when they’re actually in the health and pension plans, they want to know how those things work. But up until then, the one thing people want to hear from the union is how to get a job.

    I wish you were right, that there was this great hunger for meaningful information. I wish it were true that animation students didn’t just want to know how to put together a killer portfolio and reel, but they also wanted to know what the union had to offer them once they were working. I wish that PR was the magical force you imagine it to be. When I first became president, I was naive, too. I thought it was just a matter of relentlessly being open and upbeat and repeating the facts, and the rest would be easy. I thought if we just got the information out there, the resistance would melt away. But that hasn’t been my experience.

    Don’t get me wrong, we HAVE had significant success organizing over the last nine years. You probably didn’t notice, but that doesn’t make it any less real. But what we haven’t done is go against the tide of the entire country and reverse decades or relentless anti-union propaganda. I happen to think the animation industry is special, and that TAG is an exceptional union that doesn’t really operate like any other union. But that’s not something that can be communicated in a sound bite, or by a PR firm.

    By the way, I’ve actually read a few good books on PR, and more importantly, on propaganda. The bottom line is, you can’t convince people of something they’re not receptive to. In fact, trying too hard tends to solidify their negative feelings. Most publicity and propaganda and advertising are aimed at massaging existing beliefs and opinions. Or a PR firms tries to read when the wind is changing directions, and tries to get out in front of new trends. But they don’t create the trends, and they can’t make the wind blow a different direction. Trying to push a message onto people who aren’t receptive, especially about a union, only confirms for them that you’re a pushy, out-of-touch union jerk. The harder you push, the more certain they become that you really have some ulterior motive, that you somehow profit from their going union. It’s irrational, it’s annoying, but I know this from personal experience.

    What I’ve become certain of is that, instead of looking for some vague and ideal “proper outreach and publicity campaigns,” as you so knowingly put it, one needs to wait until people are receptive to the message you have, and then make that message as clear and compelling as you can. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily in our hands when people will become receptive, and to my knowledge no amount of PR is going to speed that up.

    And Andy, sorry if I made too much of Amid’s choice for Bob’s photo. There wasn’t anything jokey about the article, so I though using such a jokey and unflattering photo was inappropriate, but I’m glad that other’s didn’t see it that way. I promise to never mention it again.

  • david

    oh hey Bob, i don’t know you but congrats. Just thought i’d throw that out there. seeya

  • Bob Foster

    Amid -
    Just to lighten it up a little, with apologies to Kevin –
    I like the picture. Much better than me in a suit and tie. It made me laugh. It’s silly. If people want to know what I really look like they can follow the link to my blog. And thank you for the kind words.

    When I first worked in the business (1969) I disliked the union. They forced me to pay dues for the privilege of working in animation. I decided to infiltrate their organization, learn their secrets, find out what they did with my dues and expose them. I think it was around 1972 I became Sergeant-at-Arms, and all I had to do was check membership cards at the door. But I was INSIDE the organization! And I’ve been on the board ever since, with a few years off for living in Utah and Denmark.

    It took about two months on the board for me to realize the good this union did (and does.) Now I’m pretty grateful for all the benefits I’ve got.

    Thanks to the union, I’ve got about three thousand friends with whom I share a common passion and joy in the work we do.

    I’ve got a guaranteed minimum wage, fantastic health coverage for myself and, if I had any, my dependents and spouse, a very nice pension, paid vacation, a thing we call the Individual Account Plan, which is a way of sharing residuals with everyone who contributed to the creation of a movie or series. When I retire (which keeps getting postponed) I’ll be fine. The only benefit that cost me any of my own money was the 401k plan.

    Had my dues throughout my 40 year career been what they are today, I would have paid about $16,000 over the course of my career. Tax deductible. In my FIRST YEAR of retirement I’ll receive much more than that just in pension payments. Why would anyone NOT want to be in the union?

    None of these benefits were gifts from a benevolent producer at some studio. They were achieved by years of negotiations and unity for a common good. Progress and gains have been incremental and rarely happen overnight. Patience and politics prevail. If things don’t happen as fast as we’d like it isn’t always our fault.

    You said, “How the union will adapt to reflect these changing realities of its membership remains to be seen.”

    Yes! And it’s important. We’re all anxious to address those changing realities. But first, to be fair, I’d like to clarify that there’s a difference between the UNION and the LOCAL. The Animation Guild is LOCAL 839 and as such is one of 394 Locals that are part of the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) which is actually the “UNION.” The IATSE is international and deals with issues that affect over 110,000 union members throughout the United States and Canada. Some needs and strategies are decided up at the UNION level, not down at the LOCAL level. And now that a lot of what’s been happening in the animation industry has begun to have obvious affects on member benefits throughout the union, the IATSE is addressing those issues. (These include concerns about piracy and outsourcing.) We’re gaining strength and leverage. We’ll see changes soon, and I’m glad I can be a small part of it.

    It bothers us that sometimes the only work available is at non-union shops but when ya’ gotta pay the bills, a check is a check. Not that we want to aid the non-union shops in getting their work done, but if it’s going to get done anyway, it might as well be done by a union artist. If you have a house and a family, sometimes the options are limited.

    A whole lot of animation people in this country are the victims of job losses to overseas companies, just like so many others who used to have manufacturing jobs in this country. When jobs go overseas, you take what you can get until things change.

    I wish the “younger generation” of artists you mentioned would get involved with the union. In their absence a lot of old school and middle school veterans occupy seats on the Board, watching the tidal wave of new technology and job categories bear down on them, knowing what has to be done but lacking the support to get things done. We can’t force people to act in unity for their own good and we can’t force them to join the union. They have to want it and be willing to stand up for it. I wish you would get a job at a union shop, join the union, then run for the executive board of the Animation Guild and pitch in.

    I appreciate the exchange of thoughts and arguments my election to the presidency has generated. I like that there is passion on both sides of the debate and I think we can all learn something from it.

    I look forward to having lunch or dinner with you anytime your in Los Angeles.

    Now, where the hell did you find that photo? I don’t remember where it was taken or anything.

  • Thomas Hatch

    The only way to settle this is to have Kevin choose a new picture for Amid’s bio.

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Welcome, Mr. Foster. We’re lucky to have you.